Thursday, December 06, 2001

Went to New York on Thursday. Got up hyper early and got to the airport two hours ahead of our flight. Good thing we did, because our flight was canceled, but we were there early enough to catch a 8:30 flight. Got into New York around 11:00, grey and raining. Took a crowded van ride from La Guardia through the tunnel at Queens to Manhattan. We stayed with a Kinsey patron. He took us around to the galleries in the Chelsea area after lunch at East of Eighth. I wasn't feeling very good and thought I might faint. After he left to go back to his home in Long Beach, Catherine and I did some shopping at Whole Foods, went back to East of Eighth for a drink and dinner, then went to see the Harry Potter movie.

Friday we got up early, did a lot of walking. Took the subway to the MoMA, decided to skip it and went to the American Craft Museum instead. Then we walked around, went to Rockefeller Center to see the tree and skating, saw the GE building, St. Patrick's, St. Bartholomew's, the Waldorf-Astoria, the Chrysler building, and various other buidings. Took a walk in Central Park, had a pizza at the wild animal place, watched some skating at Wolman Rink, then walked up to go to Strawberry Fields. Media circus. Walked around the Dakota. Went back to the Chelsea area, had dinner across the street from Madison Square Garden.

Took Catherine's slides up to Houston street, walked around before going to the gallery. Sat through the gallery panel. Very rude people, very hot and stuffy. Nice to see Bronwyn. We went out to drinks with Bronwyn and two of her friends after the panel talk.

Saturday we went down to see the Woolworth Building, and went to Ground Zero. Don't feel like writing about it.

After that, we met our hosts and went up to 91st street for lunch. Then to the Guggenheim, which was disgustingly painted black. Dinner at a nice Chelsea Japanese restaurant.

Up early, took a very expensive car ride back to La Guardia. Noticed how close Flushing Meadows is to the airport.

Addendum, 6 months later:

I still don't feel like talking about visiting Ground Zero. I keep holding it close to my chest, for the past six months, I've only taken it out when I've been by myself, usually in the car on the way up to Indy for hockey practice. I keep thinking that if I just let enough time pass, I can tell someone what happened while I was standing there, but I just can't. I haven't even talked to Catherine about it, except for about 15 seconds soon afterward. I wanted to talk to Linda about it, but couldn't bear to even start.

Here's the thing. I never break down in public. Never. I can hold it together better than anyone I know. And I didn't break down in New York, either. I do, however, cry about the whole thing every time I go to Indy, sometime after the 45-50 minute mark in the drive, when I'm by myself and no one can touch me and no one can see me and no one will hear me. It's not like I'm hoarding this pain during the week, or that it's on my mind all the time. It's just that given enough time and privacy, things eventually work themselves to the surface.

Anyway, standing there, well, kneeling because I was right at the barrier and there were people behind me and I didn't want anyone to push against me to see around me, that's probably the closest I've ever come to breaking up with people around me. And it wasn't crying breaking up, it was worse. If I had let go at all, I would have been screaming, because that was what was going on in my head. Every time the wrecking machine knocked down another chunk, I just wanted to scream, tell them to stop it, they can't do that, all those papers flying in the air belong to somebody, they have to stop, they could be smashing a body, they have to stop, they have to stop. It was like...boom and I needed to scream. It was deafening inside my head, and I was terrified I was going to have to actually scream, and....just how fucking stupid is that?

Catherine had a completely different reaction to everything, she cried almost immediately, for different reasons, I think. At least, there was nothing familiar in what she was saying to me as I was trying to comfort her. And I want to know where are the people who experienced the same thing I did, the ones who were right on the brink of insanity?

I don't want to share this with anyone. I don't want anyone to devalue my experience, either claim they know how I must have been feeling, or suggest that maybe I was over-reacting. Because I have never felt anything like that in my entire life--I don't go insane over nothing, and I've never screamed in my entire life. And I don't know how to explain how the thud of the wrecking ball ricocheted off my breast bone and forced its way up my throat. I'm glad I didn't scream, but if I had stood there for even 10 more seconds, I'm afraid I wouldn't have been able to stop myself.

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